Prince Harry writes heartfelt letter to Princess Diana's landmine charity

Prince Harry walks through a minefield during a visit to Angola to see the work of landmine clearance charity the Halo Trust, on day five of the royal tour of Africa. (Photo: Getty Images)
Prince Harry walks through a minefield during a visit to Angola to see the work of landmine clearance charity the Halo Trust, on day five of the royal tour of Africa. (Photo: Getty Images)

Of the many engagements Harry attended with Meghan on their royal tour of Africa in September last year, his visit to Angola was perhaps the most emotional for the prince, as he recreated the moment his mother effectively changed the course of history.

In 1997, Princess Diana walked through an open minefield in Dirico to raise awareness of the danger and prevalence of landmines. The famous photo of her doing so served as a catalyst in banning the deadly weapon.

"If an international ban on mines can be secured it means, looking far ahead, that the world may be a safer place for this generation's grandchildren," Diana said in 1997. 22 years on, Harry walked in his mother's footsteps and described the experience as "incredibly emotional".

"It's incredibly emotional to follow in the footsteps of my mother... If 20 years ago she hadn't done what she did, this would still be a minefield. To see this as a thriving community is amazing," he said.

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Following in the footsteps of his mother, Princess Diana, this morning The Duke of Sussex visited a de-mining site in Dirico, Angola, to raise awareness of the danger and prevalence of landmines that still exists today. The Duke joined @thehalotrust in their work to help clear the area to enable safe access for the local community. • “If an international ban on mines can be secured it means, looking far ahead, that the world may be a safer place for this generation's grandchildren.” – Princess Diana, 1997 Today in Angola The Duke of Sussex will retrace his mother’s steps to see the legacy of her work and how her connection with this community helped make the elimination of landmines a reality. In 1997 Diana Princess of Wales visited Huambo to bring global attention to the crisis of landmines and the people whose lives were being destroyed. Two decades later, the area has transformed from desolate and unhabitable to lively and vibrant, with colleges, schools and small businesses. The Duke is humbled to be visiting a place and a community that was so special to his mother, and to recognise her tireless mission as an advocate for all those she felt needed her voice the most, even if the issue was not universally popular. Princess Diana’s visit helped change the course of history, and directly led to the Convention against Anti-Personal Landmines, also known as the Ottawa Treaty. Today, with the support of @thehalotrust, Angola now has a stated aim under the Treaty to be clear of known mines by 2025. Despite great progress, 60 million people worldwide still live in fear of landmines every day. During his visit today, The Duke will walk along the street which was once the minefield where his mother was famously pictured. #RoyalVisitAfrica #RoyalVisitAngola Photo©?PA

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Now, Harry is reconnecting with The Halo Trust amid the pandemic to let them know their "dedication and determination" has not gone unnoticed in a heartfelt letter, according to ITV News royal editor, Chris Ship.

"In these trying times, hope comes from the light of our common humanity. Nowhere is that light burning brighter than at The Halo Trust. As countries closed their borders, lockdowns came into force and international travel became harder, many might have chosen to suspend operations. Instead, Halo kept open a presence in all 25 of its country operations," Harry wrote in the letter.

He added: "Halo might just have stuck to its core role, but I would also like to salute you for pivoting so quickly to meet the challenges unexpectedly presented by the pandemic. The fact that you can operate across conflict-affected countries like Afghanistan is also a precious resource in the face of a disease that recognises no frontlines.

"It is at times like this that the work and efforts of people like you – prepared to do whatever it takes to help, serve and protect others – shines through. In sometimes hazardous and dangerous situations, your commitment to your communities and people who need your help is remarkable. I am hugely proud to be able to support such an extraordinary organisation."

Though Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are currently settling into their new life in Los Angeles, the couple has kept up with their patronages and charities.

Prince William recently passed Harry's kind words on to The Diana Award – another charity honouring their mother's memory – to thank them for their efforts amid Covid-19.

READ MORE HERE: Prince William writes touching letter to charity honouring Princess Diana on behalf of himself and Prince Harry